Eric Fisher told the Chiefs late in the week that he wanted to opt out of starting at right tackle Sunday against the Texans because of his left high ankle sprain, a source told The Star.
Fisher was listed as active for Sunday’s game, but Jah Reid started in Fisher’s place. Reid was signed as a free agent last weekend after being released by the Baltimore Ravens but had been working primarily at right tackle in practice.
Multiple sources say the Chiefs were upset with Fisher’s decision. Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle also reported Sunday morning that Fisher “expressed concern about his high ankle sprain” to the team.
Fisher, however, said he did not play Sunday because of a coaches decision.
“I was definitely going to try,” Fisher said after the game, a 27-20 Chiefs’ victory. “It was completely their decision, and (I) kind of go do what they say … they decided I wasn't quite there yet. (They) made the decision.”
Following the game, Chiefs coach Andy Reid was asked if Fisher said anything on Friday about his ankle hurting.
“Yep,” Reid said. “We kept communication with him throughout. He thought he could push through it, but it didn’t work out that way.”
Reid said Fisher practiced throughout the week and made a genuine effort to play.
“Fish practiced during the week,” Reid said. “We thought, early, he’d be able to make it to the game. And he tried. He put his heart into the thing. But he just couldn’t push off the way he needed to.
“But it got to the point where it wasn’t getting better. And at that point, I just had to make a decision.”
Reid said he could tell during the week that Fisher, who sustained the injury Aug. 17 and missed the Chiefs’ last three preseason games, did not look healthy.
“I looked at the tape on Thursday … and he wasn’t right,” Reid said. “He was trying to push through it but he was having a hard time getting his hips rolling over that (ankle). So I said ‘Listen, we can’t put him in a position like that, so we went with Jah there.’”
Jah Reid took most of the reps on Friday, but Andy Reid said Fisher still practiced.
“I just wanted to see where he was at,” Reid said. “High ankle sprains are weird. They tweak … we were kind of keeping a close eye on him. We had him doing some scout team stuff and regular stuff.”
Fisher eventually did enter the game late as a replacement for left tackle Donald Stephenson.
“He ended up going in the game today and did OK for the couple snaps he was in there,” Reid said. “Donald hurt his finger. He’s going to be OK.”
Stephenson performed well enough at left tackle this preseason to earn the starting left tackle job, as Reid announced earlier this week that Fisher — the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft — would be moving to the right side, where he struggled as a rookie.
Fisher told reporters Wednesday that he accepted the move for the good of the team, but on Sunday, it was Jah Reid who had to step in to handle the task of dealing with Houston star J.J. Watt.
Watt, who lined up primarily on the right tackle’s outside shoulder, finished with nine tackles — six for loss — and two sacks, including a ridiculous one in which he had his helmet ripped off midplay by Jah Reid and still finished the sack.
But after the game, Andy Reid praised Jah Reid for getting the job done well enough to help his team win.
“Jah had gotten some reps in there, obviously, during that time, and gave him an opportunity to jump in and play,” Andy Reid said. “And I think, listen, for being here such a short period of time, you have to give it to him for going in there and playing the way he did.”